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Medical Volunteering – Doctor in Cambodia

Something I haven’t shared before on this blog is that, for the last four years, I’ve spent around a month a year medical volunteering as a doctor in Cambodia.

It was a lifelong dream of mine to work as a volunteer doctor in a developing country. It’s been an amazing experience and I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity.

Here are some of the things I’ve done

– Provided lice treatment and other basic treatments inside Cambodian prisons.

– Taught class at Cambodian medical school.

– Run medical clinics in slums around Phnom Penh

– Taught first aid to the carers at an HIV orphanage.

– Provided help for individuals. For example, this year I am organizing a treatment plan for a young man who lost his sight 18 months ago due to an infection and has since been confined to bed with almost no help. He has 15cm bedsores and has lost the ability to walk because he has been lying in bed for so long (sometimes in his own excrement).

– Getting other Doctors in New Zealand (specialists) to provide an opinion on specific cases (e.g., tumors) by Skype, photos etc.

– I sponsor a Cambodia medical student (I pay her medical school fees and living expenses). When I’m in Cambodia, we run the slum clinics together.

Life lesson from medical volunteering – I get back more than I give.

My experiences of medical volunteering have given me:

– A sense of purpose in life.

– Gratitude for my opportunities and privileges.

– Greater confidence in my own skills to adapt to the limited resources available.

– Some wonderful friendships and relationships e.g., my student and I Skype each other regularly.

8 Comments


  1. // Reply

    I imagine your volunteering is quite rewarding. It sounds like there is a great need for medical help in Cambodia.


  2. // Reply

    Hi,

    I am a medical student in Ireland interested in volunteering in Cambodia this summer. What organizations did you volunteer with? I’d appreciate any information you can offer! Thanks!


  3. // Reply

    Hi! Sounds like you have a great experience. I am wondering how you found volunteering medical opportunities in Cambodia? I am in my last year of medicine and wanting to do volunteering when I graduate but some organisations are very expensive to “volunteer” with and am never quite sure how much money goes to the community.

    Thanks!!




  4. // Reply

    How does one go about doing medical volunteering?
    Licensure, Visa etc

    Thanks

    Preecha


    1. // Reply

      Hi Preecha,

      I can only speak for Cambodia. I have volunteered for One-2-One Charitable Trust (see http://one2oneworld.org/) and Cambodian Children’s Fund. Needed a police check as working with children. I enter Cambodia on tourist visa which you get on arrival i.e I don’t tell the airport officials the main purpose of my visit or else they’d want a bribe to let me in!). Costs $20 and you need a spare passport photo to give them. I had my Annual Practicing Certificate and indemnity insurance from New Zealand which I’m sure didn’t cover me in Cambodia. I was wasn’t working in a formal Cambodian Hospital, just clinics run by the charities. The people we are treating have NOTHING and are very grateful for foreign medical, nursing, midwifery and dental volunteers.
      I hope this is helpful to you.
      Best wishes, Kathryn.


    2. // Reply

      Hi Kenny,

      See my answer to Preecha’s question. I hope you find that helpful.
      Volunteering is fantastic. You love it!
      Cheers, Kathryn 🙂

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